posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 12:34 PM
In modern usage, it does only seem to refer to a religions/belief systems etc. that are considered 'outside the norm'. Extremist religious groups
and the like. I suppose fictional depictions of 'cults' with whackjob leaders and unthinkingly devoted, usually brainwashed followers have only
added to this definition of what a 'cult' is.
In my mind, if we go by this view of what a cult is, then all religions are cults. For instance, if I think of my upbringing; attending Sunday mass at
a Catholic church. The congregation standing and sitting mindlessly as one, reciting The Creed and the Our Father without any real conscious
thought...If that sort of behaviour is not the result of 'brainwashing', than I don't know what is. I'm not necessarily saying there is true,
intentional malice in this conditioning but I don't see how it's any different from a so-called 'cult' leader making his/her followers do exactly
what they request.
In church, you even give money in for the church's use; would I be wrong in saying that many 'cults' are said to ask members to give up large
amounts of money to their cult for various reasons?
This is not an attack on the Catholic church- though, personally, I find organised religion ridiculous and I am a staunch and lifelong Atheist;
perhaps I may be somewhat bias, no?-, more, I am using the religion I have the most knowledge of as an example.
So, after that long-winded nonsense, I suppose that I personally believe a cult is any organised religion with a figurehead(s) and specific
rites/ceremonies. Looking at it objectively, I fail to see how one could differentiate between a so-called cult and a Christian denomination, such as
Catholicism or the Anglican church. I just think it's a word used by members of 'proper' religions to distance them from more extreme/unusual
belief systems, which they might be uncomfortable with, when really they're one and the same in a multitude of ways.